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Life, the Universe, and Everything

According to NASA, of all the matter/energy in the universe, "It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the Universe."*

This means that less than 5% of the matter/energy in the entire universe makes up everything we can detect and experience. Everything we know: you, me, electricity, kittens, duck-billed platypuses, bacteria, the moon, stars, interstellar dust clouds (including Sagittarius B2 which contains 10 billion billion billion liters of stuff that tastes like raspberries and smells like rum**), that book you're reading, soccer balls, the weapons we use, the drugs we take, the water we drink, sand, and skin. Every atom. Every proton. Every electron. Every neutron. Everything. All normal matter/energy makes up less than 5% of the matter/energy in the universe.

Of that 5% of all normal matter/energy in the universe, think of the immensely small percentage that is life.

Of that immensely small percentage of that 5% of all normal matter/energy in the universe that is life, think of the absurdly small percentage that is intelligent life.***

We are fringe. We are likely the most improbable and unimaginable things to exist in the universe.

Of all infinity, we can live only within a couple vertical miles of flammable and oxidizing atmosphere on a rather average-sized planet spinning at 1000 mph while orbiting a naturally formed 4.6 billion-year-old thermonuclear hydrogen fusion reactor at a speed of 66,000 mph which, from a distance of roughly 93 million miles, happens to be able to supply us with nearly all the energy needed to sustain us.

So next time you're thinking how pointless it all is or how little anything matters or how utterly small and worthless and insignificant you are, remember how immensely and absurdly unique intelligent life is in the entirety of everything ever, and, maybe, dare to feel just a little bit special.

(We know almost nothing of dark matter, which seems to hold the universe together, or dark energy, which seems to be accelerating the universe apart. Interestingly enough, since the universe is accelerating away from itself, this means that, eventually, we will not be able to see any other galaxy clusters except our own.****)

* "Dark Energy, Dark Matter," NASA Science Astrophysics.

** "Next Stop: the Universe," NASA's Blueshift.

*** This also means that an absurdly small percentage of an immensely small percentage of a mere 5% of all the matter/energy in the universe creates literally all the music, poetry, love, and hate in existence; all the lies told, heroics performed, and dreams dreamt; everything that is imagined and hoped for and dreaded; all the atrocities committed, sweet nothings whispered, and fears holding us back; everything good and bad and moral and immoral and sympathetic and apathetic; all the abuses perpetrated and suffered, discoveries made, and truths determined.

**** "The Return of a Static Universe and the End of Cosmology," Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation.


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